On Wednesday, longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber announced his intentions to retire after a 16-year career in which he appeared in five Pro Bowls and was named as an All-Pro three times.
On November 22, 1998, Barber took the field against the Detroit Lions in just your average regular season game. Three decades, one Super Bowl victory, and a decision to ditch their famous, or infamous, creamsicle jerseys later, Barber appeared in all of Tampa Bay’s 240 games until December 30, 2012.
While the defensive back pulled a Darrell Green and became a lifer for the loss-stricken franchise before his arrival, London Fletcher was proving that every NFL team completely miscounted his talents during the 1998 NFL Draft.
Since 2007, the four-time Pro Bowler has called the Nation’s Capital home and today he can also officially claim himself as the NFL’s sole Ironman after being tied with Barber with 240 consecutive appearances.
Now don’t go confusing Fletcher with the box office hit. Unlike Tony Stark his performances are real.
Similar to Stark’s suit of power, it seems that every time Fletcher snaps on his Redskins helmet and puts on his gold pants, he’s invincible.
In 1998, the undrafted college free agent signed with the St. Louis Rams. Few expected him to beat out his drafted counterparts for a roster spot. No one expected him to actually take the field during a regular season game.
On September 6, 1998 Fletcher took the field for the Rams against the New Orleans Saints.
Here’s a fun fact for you—at the time tackles weren’t an official stat yet.
Also, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” was the top jam in the country.
Unless you’ve completed stonewalled football from your life the last 15 years, there’s almost no chance you’ve missed Fletcher’s streak.
While there’s already a bevy of storylines to follow during the Redskins’ Monday Night Football opener against the Eagles, keep tabs on Fletcher as he looks to extend his games played streak.
Hail to the Redskins!
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